EXCLUSIVE: Chris Eyre has signed on to direct Soul Catcher with John Sayles attached to write the screenplay. Based on the novel by Dune author Frank Herbert, the psychological thriller centers on a Native American activist who, driven by ancient spirits and injustice towards his people, kidnaps the son of an important U.S. politician with the intent to sacrifice the child as revenge. As the captors and captive attempt to escape from hunters across the Pacific Northwest, they form an unexpected bond which disrupts the planned ritual. Dimitri Villard optioned the book and is producing.

The late Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune was published in 1965 and remains the best-selling science fiction book of all time. The novel was adapted into a 1984 film helmed by David Lynch as well as a TV miniseries and sequel in the 2000s. Although he had penned several novels and short stories before his death in 1986, Dune is the only other property of his to be adapted into a feature film. Soul Catcher is a rare mainstream novel but shares many of the Herbert’s signature themes in intertwining ecology, politics, and Native American religious convictions.

Eyre previously directed Smoke Signals, Edge Of America and The American Experience. He is repped by Gersh, Critical Mass Management and Shining Elk Entertainment Group. Sayles is repped by APA and Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard.